Flight Back - Xmas in Antarctica, Easter at home

One Pun to rule them all! :smiley:

Somehow I trust you. But loosing faith in my self… for some reason :wink:

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Having annoyed Qantas enough with the last flight, I couldn’t see them wanting to take me anywhere else so decided to opt for another of the default XP11 aircraft. The MD-80 looks nice, a bit different inside but similar enough to muddle through. It will also fit the bill for the timescales that I can afford to be flying.

I have decided I need to put more into the planning side and even read a bit about how to program the FMS properly.

Unfortunately my initial attempts at doing things “more proper” caused me a few headaches. Trying to engage the autpilot after punching in all the waypoints had me going out to sea or generally any way I didn’t want to go. This was all very nice and I did get to see the SA coastline and mountain ranges, but it was highlighting that I have a severe lack of knowledge of modern aircraft systems and should never be allowed anywhere near a real flight deck.

Having read a lot more about the autopilot, more on the FMS/CDU, watched multiple videos and had numerous aborted attempts, I think I’ve just about got it and set off.

FACT → FAOR (Johannesburg, Tambo International)

Starting on the runway, armed with my new found knowledge of the MD-80, I punch in all the waypoints. I couldn’t get the departure point to take the one I wanted to, so ended up with a direct vector to the first waypoint. A bit of a muddle at the far end with a “discontinuity”, I couldn’t find a sensible transition, so select something and hope its right.

Waiting to go with Table Mountain in the background - stunning.

Take off number??? (I’ve lost count). I’ve even remembered to put the wheels up this time.

I’m still not sure of how the modes work, but it seems to be a combination of the FMS and VOR/LOC buttons. Definitely more reading required. Eventually my frantic pressing results in NAV TRK on the autopilot readout and we turn to the first waypoint.

Capetown disappearing over the horizon, mountain ranges below

We’re up at FL300 and everything seems to be going really well for a change and we’re following the waypoints. Its easy this flying lark. :cold_sweat:

Its at this point I start having a look at the CDU to try and see if I’ve sorted out the arrival. I’m still not convinced I’ve got it right.

This is what I’m trying to follow “NIBEX2A approach on Runway 03R”

What I end up doing is getting to NIBEX and then the autopilot heads me at 70 degrees, I know I’m doing something wrong with the transition, again more reading required.

Realising this heading will intercept the centreline I’m wondering if I’ll be able to pick up the localiser, then decide against pushing my luck with the autopilot button presses and switch it off.

Manual approach - check. Off centre line - check. Making the passengers feel uneasy - check.

Down… a bit too hard on the left gear.

Welcome to Jo’burg. Its a bit sparse, hope you’ve brought a tent.

Another interesting flight even with all the faffing about to get underway. Hopefully the systems fog will clear with each of the next few flights.

I’m blown away with what the default scenery in XP11 looks like and happy I took the leap. I’m another 700 miles closer to home, there’s still a long way to go, but should get there for Easter.


You sure are - I was starting to get worried when you started flying the box pattern…

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@Sine_Nomine - top work!

Two more flights done this weekend and I’m now at Entebbe. Will write the reports up during the week.

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Up there again…


A 60 second standard rate turn should put you on a reciprocal course… well, assuming zero winds :wink:

That’s why I’m a proponent of Immelman’s when I perform procedure turns.

You know, that would work just as well, and it would be far more exciting! :wink:

FAOR → FVFA (Victoria Falls International)

As things have been going so well with the navigation/autopilot, I decided to use the correct time of flight in the evening, rather than change to fly in daylight. The would mean the whole flight would be dark, but Xplane does look good at night. :slight_smile:

A relatively short hop, but perfect for the amount of RL time available

All lined up, the lights of Johannesburg lighting up the night

I entered the route into the FMS and was able to select the right SID and STAR this time. Xplane has had an update since I last flew so I’m wondering if something was fixed.

Climbing out over the city.

The route was straightforward, climb up to FL320, head north into Zimbabwe then back down. What I wasn’t ready for was how dark it was outside. There was very little in the way of lights/roads once I got away from Jo’burg.

Nothing to see here…

I passed the time with checking the arrivals chart and trying to work out what I needed to do with the autopilot to get it to pick up the localiser.

I started the descent with around 80 miles to go, noting that the runway was at 3,500 ft. Min altitude is 5000ft, so all looking good. With about 20 miles to go, I could see the runway but it didn’t look right as it appear to be higher than I was currently flying.

8000ftm but the runway “looks” higher…

I double checked the chart and then started to doubt myself and wonder if I was really at 8,000ft. A quick call to the tower for the barometric pressure and it was set right.

Looking out the left window, with the sim unpaused I could see the ground moving. This made me worry even further, so in the end I had to pause and have a look outside. Checking round, all was ok and I think it was mainly due to overflying a road, and the illusion that it was causing.

The autopilot was doing a great job of flying the correct approach and I was fully expecting to be able to get the intercept of the localiser and glideslope working. I shouldn’t have been surprised when nothing happened and again I had to switch off the autopilot and effect a manual landing. I’m still not doing this correctly… grrrr :confounded:

A nice manual landing though, not quite on the piano keys, but reasonably straight. This may be because I didn’t faff about trying to take screenshots. :slight_smile:

Heading to the gate

An enjoyable flight in the dark, lessons learned in trusting the instruments and pleased chalking off another leg.


A toast. To Parrot!

What happened to the crew? Did you eat someone? Did they taste like chicken?? So many questions!!

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This happened to me also quite many times with the DC10 and I am still not sure if the next landing will be different :wink:

Exactly why I also flight in the real hours = night. It is sort of ignorance to fly VFR such machine stuffed with expensive instruments :relaxed:

@Sine_Nomine - Great report! :slight_smile: I’m going to have to get a move on…

FVFA → HUEN (Entebbe International Airport)

Needing to find a suitable location to fly to, Entebbe was about the right distance time wise. I know little about the place aside from watching a 70’s film based upon Operation Entebbe - Mossad’s rescue of Israeli hostages. Reason enough to go and have a look.

Waiting for clearance…

Climbing out over Victoria falls - a touch disappointing in default Xplane

Cruising at FL320 - all seems to be going well

Descending over Lake Victoria…

Things went pretty well with the flight up to this point, no crashes, route selection and programming in the FMS were ok. A quick check of the manual and I was confident that this time I’d nail the auto land.

Unfortunately after I took the screenie above, the autopilot followed the route to where I thought we should intercept the Localiser and it didn’t. Again I had to quickly disable the autopilot and complete a manual landing. Whilst its not a major thing, its starting to frustrate. Watching videos online, looks easy…

Manualing it down the runway at Entebbe international

Entebbe airport was quiet and default. I was at least expecting some remnants of the violent past.

Another one chalked off, I’m five flights from home now, I will nail this damn autolanding before I get back.


I hate reading manuals. I read manuals at work. Reading the manual is the last thing any sensible person would do because we all know manuals are written by the apprentice who doesn’t want to do the damn job in the first place. You have to spend hours trying to decipher pages of text when you only have five minutes to get the job done. In this case you usually speak to an expert.

The downside is that when you speak with said expert, you usually have to endure the humiliation of ridicule for not knowing something that is so obvious it isn’t in the manual. For me to nail this autoland, I needed an expert. I realised I had no option but to call on the one person that I knew who would know the answer and be able to deliver to me the Holy Grail of an auto landing. :slight_smile:

The expert is my Dad. He spends so many hours flying FSX tubeliners, he doesn’t look at his logbook for fear of realising how many hours he’s spent flying PC flight sims… He would know what I am doing wrong and would also deliver the humiliation of ridicule in the process, but it would be worth it.

A quick chat over a beer and a few pointers, a gentle bit of riducle, I was armed with his sage advice and his thoughts on where I was going wrong. It was time to put it to the test…

HUEN → HSSS (Khartoum International)

On the ramp

Climbing away from Entebbe

MD-80 looking nice

Even the plane is insulting me now… (image to the right is a zoom of the centre console)

Nice lighting from the setting sun

All set up on the approach.

Up to this point, I’d pressed the VOR/LOC button. I was at the correct height to intercept the ILS beam. The Autopilot was still in NAV TRK.

The advice from my guru was to not press the VOR/LOC button, but to press the ILS button and let the autopilot keep flying straight towards the runway. ILS button was pressed and nothing happened…

I don’t know what I was expecting to happen, a massive correction maybe and an “I’ll take it from here, lad” to come up on the screen? I was about to switch off the autopilot when then this happened…

AUT LND :blush:

I couldn’t believe it. I was elated. I was so elated that I forgot to drop the speed on the autopilot before deploying the last notch of flaps. I was still doing 210 kts as I selected full flaps. The port wing failed and the aircraft rolled to the left, spreading itself across downtown Khartoum.

I’m not going to refly this leg as technically I did touchdown, though I think the damage is too great to buff out. I still don’t have a full auto landing, but its a start.

Four to go.


Yes, I am somewhere lost, but RL not virtually :slight_smile:

Happy to see that @Sine_Nomine you already made it home with all that preceding Antarctica adventures. You were really productive!

So here is the next leg in Western Africa from Libreville FOOL to Dakar GOOY. And I realy dont know how many flights still to go. I am afraid to check with the Easter behind the door already.

Again nice weather so night flight.

Leaving FOOL (was able to PrtScrn the red flash light)

This time I trusted the FSX flight planner = milions of short legs between two milions of intersections…

These SoftClouds are for sure nice, going up to this hights FL320 and looking great

Say ‘SoftClouds’ (hope you can see something on the screens)

It is always good feeling when the AP captures the ILS… but I was distracted and screwed something up again on the finals and was too fast and out of the center line so I had to restart… as usual… but second time I landed fine… with AP disengaged…

EDIT: I couldnt resist… so I checked anyway and only two hops to home left :innocent: :
Dakar GOOY - Gibraltar LXGB
Gibraltar LXGB - Piestany LZPP


Having shared the previous MD-82 with the locals of Khartoum a re-build with the timescales left was highly unlikely, so a quick deal was made with the SAS (not that one) - the Scandanavian Airlines who agreed to take us on the next few legs as far as Munich.

HSSS → HECA (Cairo International Airport)

Departing Khartoum

Over the Sudan…

Enter Sandman

Coming in to land over Cairo

All looking good and with new confidence with navigation, approaches and the autopilot all was looking good for an approach onto the 05R longer runway. As we descended the runway didn’t “look” right, so I switch off the autopilot and took over. Touching down it was like a rollercoaster…

“Just chuck the tarmac down Mick, don’t bother with the roller, they’ll never notice”

The Shareef don’t like it

Rock the Kasbah

Eventually we skidded to a halt, fortunately with no explosions.

Keets X-Plane pilot information service - land at 05L or 05C until there is another s/w update.

A quick turnaround for this flight as there was fair winds in RL this weekend and time to get another one in to Malta.

HECA → LMML (Luqa - Malta International Airport)

Departing Cairo on the centre runway - We don’t need no stinking pyramids.

Ice cold in Alex - Turning right over Alexandria

Over Marsa Matruh


Almost done with Africa…

Nearly back in familiar territory… over the Med.

Trying to select an approach for LMML, I got a warning that the approaches weren’t available and to report it… that’s all well and good, but I have approach and auto land skills I want to practise. Looks like I’m going to have to do some pilotty stuff.

Nice height, all looks good with the PAPIS.

Parked up with the sun just going down.

For anyone with a longing to fly to Malta, there is a great addon scenery that is hopefully coming soon which looks amazing, I was hoping it was released, unfortunately not, so was stuck with default furniture.

Two more done with two to go.


LXGB Gibraltar

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Good choice. Was always wondering what level of simulation to expect from the Virtavia aircrafts.
@Sine_Nomine how is the Canberra simulated system wise? I mean systems used inflight, not much interested in the cold 'n dark.

Exactly @keets, I have the same experience as stated somewhere in my previous post

And ‘massive corrections’ I usualy experience when I screw something up, so quite often - too high too fast and off rwy center line - and then the ILS do what it does best in that situation - tries to kill my crew :smiley:

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